Monday’s Headlines: NYC Misses Its Train Daddy Edition

Andy Byford and a friend — in happier times. Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit
Andy Byford and a friend — in happier times. Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

The resignation of Andy Byford from the MTA was certainly not one-day story — not in this press-saturated town. No sooner had Byford quit than Dana Rubinstein (who’d broken the departure in the first place) provided Scoop 2: That Byford’s hand-picked signaling expert Pete Tomlin would also leave the agency in the same Brit-accented huff.

But all that did is set off another round of paroxysms of grief. Gothamist did a nice overview of why we loved Byford so much (leaving out why we didn’t: 500 more MTA cops!), and the Times looked at whether everything will go to hell. Meanwhile, Aaron Gordon at Signal Problems posted the letters he’s received from people wanting to commiserate. (Byford’s departure is certainly something to write home about, but is it something to write Aaron Gordon about?)

Well, we didn’t write Aaron Gordon, but one reason we liked Andy Byford was on display over the weekend in Queens when he showed up to listen to residents of Jackson Heights complain about his bus network redesign. Remember, this is a guy who just announced he had quit and could easily be phoning it in, yet there he was getting both ears filled. Andy, we hardly knew ye.

There was lots of other news this weekend, so enjoy our headlines (and today’s mild weather):

  • In case you missed it on Friday, Mayor de Blasio completely excused Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’s rampant placard abuse. (Queens Crap)
  • Meanwhile, people are still talking about the substantive issues inadvertently raised by Adams in his racially supercharged Martin Luther King Day rant last week, but in an op-ed in the Daily News, Josmar Trujillo was the latest to complain that bike lanes are ruining the city. “Every new $6 coffee shop, luxury building or even bike lane that pops up feels like a sign the city is slipping further out of some of our hands.” Yes, the city is getting more expensive, which is hurting many longtime residents, but can we just stop stigmatizing road re-designs that help everyone be safe from cars? A bike lane is not a $6 latte.
  • The Post had more details on the pedestrian killed on Saturday in Chinatown, which we had initially covered.
  • Brooklyn learned that Council Member Rafael Espinal had resigned, which is a loss for street safety. Espinal will take a job with Freelancers Union (term limits make people do crazy things). (Gloria Pazmino via Twitter, NY Post). His resignation letter is here.
  • And another possible ally in the fight for livable streets, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., said he would not run for mayor and will retire from public life when his term expires at the end of 2021. (NY Post, NY Times)
  • There was a terrible crash in Queens (NY Post, NYDN), and another one involving cops in their SUV squad cars in the Bronx (NY Post), which raised the question anew: Why is the NYPD buying so many assault cars?
  • Speaking of SUVs, a horrific video emerged on Sunday of witnesses struggling together to lift an assault car off of a pedestrian who had been struck on the Lower East Side. Jeremy Sherber had the perfect take: pedestrianization now!
  • And, finally, you go on Twitter for a few hours and you get at least two reminders of how Europe eats our lunch. Here’s Paris and Amsterdam breaking the car culture as only they can (well, we could, too, but … cars). Friend of Streetsblog @BayRidgeDrivers had the perfect take on the Amsterdam picture: